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O's hope to have Tillman back in early May

Hardy homers in exhibition vs. Norfolk; Drake snags final bullpen spot
March 31, 2017

NORFOLK, Va. -- Right-hander Chris Tillman, who will be sidelined to begin the season as he recovers from a shoulder injury, could return around May 10, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Friday.Tillman, who has been doing long toss at about 120-150 feet and is scheduled for a bullpen session Saturday,

NORFOLK, Va. -- Right-hander Chris Tillman, who will be sidelined to begin the season as he recovers from a shoulder injury, could return around May 10, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Friday.
Tillman, who has been doing long toss at about 120-150 feet and is scheduled for a bullpen session Saturday, said he's encouraged with his progress.
"You never know how the first couple of days are going to go, and that's the tough part," Tillman said. "You know how it felt when it wasn't going so well. You expect it to go well, and when it does, I think that's a big, big positive. You take a lot of positive things from that."
Right-hander Kevin Gausman will start Opening Day for the O's on Monday vs. the Blue Jays.
Hardy goes deep in exhibition vs. Norfolk
It wasn't a necessary boost of confidence, but J.J. Hardy was happy to take it. The shortstop hit a solo home run in his lone plate appearance Friday as the Orioles played to a 3-3 tie in an exhibition with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.
Hardy, a 34-year-old veteran of 11 Major League seasons, hit just .172 with one homer in Grapefruit League play after going deep nine times in 115 games last season.
"It adds to your confidence," he said. "Confidence is big, but I was feeling pretty good even before this. It's definitely nice, but I don't feel like I needed it in order to go in and have a good Opening Day or anything like that."
The start of the game was in doubt in the afternoon as heavy rain fell until just before the scheduled 3:05 p.m. ET start time. It started 10 minutes late and was played under bright sunshine.
"I don't think you could draw up much more of a perfect game," Showalter said. "The weather cleared, we got it in, we got to get some work in."
Adam Jones went 1-for-1 with an opposite-field double for the Orioles, who played all of their regulars and used 23 position players.
Drake earns final bullpen spot
After the game, Showalter named right-hander Oliver Drake as the final piece in the eight-man bullpen he'll use to start the season.
Drake had reportedly been designated for assignment, so he was shocked Thursday when Showalter called him into his office in Sarasota, Fla., and gave him the news.
"Yeah, it was a weird hour or so," Drake said, adding that he had a slew of texts and calls inquiring about his status. "I'm real happy with how it turned out and excited for the season now."

David Hall is a contributor to MLB.com.